Wild Days 2015

2015 Event Highlights 

LAKESHORE WALK: August 1, 2015 – New Denver

Location: Lakeshore area below Main Street, New Denver
Time: 9am – 12pm
Experts & Naturalists: Richard Johnson, Daniel Helleyer, Marcy Mahr
Attendance: 17 people in total

Volunteer’s Narrative by Ellen Kinsel:

“Marcy started with some ‘watershed wake up’ exercises, having the group using gestures to describe the relationship of mountains, divides, tributaries, creeks, lake and lakeshore seen across the lake as focus points. Richard talked about the geological formation of the mountains, lakes and valleys; and then used rock samples from the beach to describe different types of rocks found in our area. The children were quite engaged in finding rocks for identification, and put special finds into zip lock sandwich bags he provided. The group slowly walked north along the shore both on the beach and the trail. Marcy pointed out a variety of different plants and leaf characteristics that can help distinguish plants that might look similar. Some children added leaves to their collection in the sandwich bags. Further along the walk, we stopped where two large cottonwood wildlife trees dominated the view. Marcy explained how birds such as osprey or eagles like to perch high up in these trees searching for fish for their next meal. Daniel directed attention to a ladybug on the leaf of a cottonwood sapling and explained the symbiotic relationship between ladybugs, ants and aphids. The children were able to use close up binoculars to watch these bugs in action. Marcy handed out the Lakeshore Field Journals and colored pencils to the kids and asked them to identify components of the lakeshore view in front of them, and making notes on the new things they had learned already along the walk. (This was also an opportunity for a snack break). Walking further up the trail, we investigated more plants and a large orange mushroom with a spongy feel. Then we turned back to walk along the beach to our starting point. The children reflected on what they had seen and heard, shared what was new to them (something they didn’t know before today), and picked one thing they would tell someone in their family when they got home.”

WETLANDS TOUR: August 12, 2015 – Hills / Summit Lake

Location: Hills Fire Hall at start then east shore of Summit Lake
Time: 12:00 – 3:30pm
Experts & Naturalists: Ryan Durand, Darcie Quamme, Rhia Mackenzie, Marcy Mahr
Attendance: 37 people in total

“This large group met at the Hills Community Fire Hall on a beautiful, sunny day. The group initially split into older and younger learners, with the older (mostly adult) group inside with Ryan while the younger children went outside with Marcy to explore with the watershed model. Ryan presented a powerpoint talk on different types of wetlands, including swamps, marshes, fens, bogs, and standing shallow water. Meanwhile, the children poured ‘rain’ into the watershed model to observe how the water flowed in two different creek scenarios. Marcy got them thinking about why the flow differed and the implications – including a bit about the wetlands in the more natural creek. The children then completed the Wetlands Field Journal. The entire group carpooled to the area where Bonanza Creek flows out of Summit Lake, and walked along the rail trail. Everyone was excited to see toadlets on the trail, and in the grasses, puddles and water-filled ditches. Ryan and Marcy pointed out different wetland types and plant species as we walked along the trail. Ryan explained the procedures SWAMP uses in the field for assessing wetlands using soil cores to determine organic vs. mineral content. A short walk off the trail brought us to the lakeshore where Darcie and Rhia had collected a variety of aquatic insects for observation in tubs. Some of the participants waded into Summit Lake with nets to gather additional specimens. The highlight of the afternoon was seeing the various water insects with magnifying viewfinders.”

CREEKSIDE WALK – Springer Creek, Slocan: August 15, 2015

Time: 9am – 12pm
Expert: Marcy Mahr
Attendance: 6 people in total

Volunteer’s Narrative  by T. Tremaine:

“This group met at the gazebo at Slocan’s Expo Park on a cloudy, cool day. Although we had a small group, participants had lots of fun on this creekside walk. We walked along beautiful Springer Creek, through the campground and up towards the waterfalls. We made a few stops along the way to identify plants with different leaf patterns and ones with fruits. Once we reached a good spot on the creek bank, Marcy used her net to catch aquatic insects and put them in a bucket so we can easily see them. The three super-keen kids in attendance had a blast discovering a variety of insects: mayflies, stoneflies and a caddisfly larva attached to a rock. Marcy also brought viewfinders so the kids can check out these cool creatures up close. The kids opted not to fill out the nature journals as they had already had done so in previous Wild Days they attended. Instead, the kids were happy spending more quality time categorizing and organizing bugs and referencing the handy fresh water insect chart/guide that Marcy had brought along. After our time with insects, we walked up towards the upper falls and back down again, identifying plants, trees and lichen along the way. Marcy asked everyone if they saw any plants or trees that they did not recognize and wanted more information about them. She took the time to identify their chosen plants, sometimes using a plant guide for more information. She also discussed some of the signs to look for in a healthy creek and how the plants growing along the creek can benefit aquatic life. In the end, everyone agreed that they have gained more knowledge about creeks, plants and aquatic insects during this Wild Day event.”

CREEKSIDE WALK – Silverton Creek – August 29, 2015

Time: 9am – 12pm
Experts & Naturalists: Daniel Helleyer, Marcy Mahr
Attendance: 32 people in total

Volunteer’s Narrative by Ellen Kinsel:

“We had another great turn out for our final WILD DAY field trip in Silverton. We walked along the road next to Silverton Creek, heading upstream. Marcy pointed out False Solomon’s Seal (a plant in the lily family) characterized by leaf veins running parallel the length of the leaf – an indicator of lilies and orchids. We also looked at other plants with web-like net-veined in comparison. The leaves and berries from thimbleberry and devil’s club were compared. We came to a very accessible section of creek, and children with water shoes waded into the creek to help Marcy rub rocks and collect aquatic insects in a large net for study. Using spoons, the kids sorted the various types of insects into different cells of an ice cube try. We passed around a rock with an adhered caddisfly case, and learned a lot how the larvae secrete mucous that cements together tiny grains of sand and pebbles to form a tubular case in which they grow during the larval stage. Along with stoneflies and mayflies, caddisflies play an important role in the health of a creek, and are indicators of high water quality. During our snack break, Marcy handed out Rivers Field Journal and encouraged older kids to identify areas in the watershed diagram while younger kids colored the pictures in the journal. We continued up the road and found a cliff full of mosses, liverworts and lichens for the kids to explore and come back with their finds. Then the group climbed up a path (old road) into the forest to look for bugs with Daniel and saw lots of sign of bark beetles in old stumps and down logs. We then continued up to the bridge to have a good look at the whole creek. Marcy talked about rocks worn smooth the action of the flowing water vs. the angular rocks coming from the cliffs overhead. By throwing sticks and pieces of bark into the water the children saw how the current moves at different speeds in riffles and pools, and carries everything downstream. The children each shared something new they learned today or their favorite thing about the day. Back in Silverton, several people accompanied Daniel to a big ant hill along the stretch of creek by the ball field and learned about the interesting social life of ants, their use of slaves, and their truly cooperative behaviours.”